New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady plans to appeal a four-game suspension imposed by the NFL for using under-inflated footballs in the AFC title game, his agent said Monday night.
The league punished the Super Bowl MVP five days after an investigation by Ted Wells determined Brady "was at least generally aware" that two Patriots employees planned to alter the footballs after they were inspected by game officials in the so-called "Deflategate" scandal.
The NFL also fined the Patriots $1 million and forced the team to give up two draft picks, including next year's first-round selection.
"The discipline is ridiculous and has no legitimate basis," Brady's agent Don Yee said in a statement. "In my opinion, this outcome was pre-determined; there was no fairness in the Wells investigation whatsoever."
Yee said Brady cooperated fully with the investigation, despite the league's claims to the contrary.
He once again claimed the NFL and the opposing Indianapolis Colts engaged in "some type of pre-AFC Championship Game planning regarding the footballs. This fact may raise serious questions about the integrity of the games we view on Sundays."
In addition, Yee attacked the league for what he called "a well-documented history of making poor disciplinary decisions that often are overturned when truly independent and neutral judges or arbitrators preside."
"We will appeal, and if the hearing officer is completely independent and neutral, I am very confident the Wells Report will be exposed as an incredibly frail exercise in fact-finding and logic," Yee said.
On Thursday, a day after the investigative report was released, sportscaster Jim Gray interviewed Brady during an event at Salem State University in Massachusetts. At the time, Brady declined to address the findings directly.
Monday night, Gray spoke with CBSN's Jeff Glor and said he thought Brady was being "over-punished" by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
"Because the commissioner was involved with domestic violence and got that so wrong, and there was such an error in judgement, it seems like what happened now is, 'Let's over-punish and let's go in that route so nobody could say I didn't think this was serious,'" Gray said.
Gray believes Brady is likely to get the suspension overturned on appeal.
"The commissioner and the NFL have lost the appeal to Ray Rice, they've lost the appeal to Adrian Peterson, and I don't think we can equate people who are being accused of child abuse and people who have domestic violence to somebody who has two-hundredths of a ball out of compliance on PSI when, six months ago, nobody even knew what it was," Gray said.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft also released a statement Monday night, calling the investigation "one-sided."
"Despite our conviction that there was no tampering with footballs, it was our intention to accept any discipline levied by the league," the statement said. "Today's punishment, however, far exceeded any reasonable expectation. It was based completely on circumstantial rather than hard or conclusive evidence."
Kraft said the team was "humbled" by the support it has received from fans around the world throughout the controversy.
"We recognize our fans' concerns regarding the NFL's penalties and share in their disappointment in how this one-sided investigation was handled," he said.
"Tom Brady has our unconditional support," Kraft's statement concluded. "Our belief in him has not wavered."